“ Author: Maurice Sendak / Format: Hardback / Date of publication: 01 January 1967 / Genre: Picture Books / Publisher: Vintage / Title: Where the Wild Things are / ISBN 13: 9780370007724 / ISBN 10: 0370007724 / Alternative EAN: 9780099408390 „
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This is one of my Daughter's (aged two) favourite books. I managed to miss this as a child myself although I understand it has been hugely popular and successful for over 50 years. I hadn't heard of this story until the movie release of the film based upon the book.
The illustrations are amazing, set on large pages of high quaity paper. My little girl is really drawn to them and strokes the page, telling me to do the same. She loves to study the monsters in detail and all the different features on their faces, their different beaks and horns and feet and claws. These illustrations really stimulate her interest and imagination. She also enjoys joining in with the wild rumpus so for us it isn't the last book before bed as it's so exciting to her.
The story itself is both simple and complex, which is probably the secret of it's success. It has an allegorical feel, and at face value it is a simple tale of a boy who gets told off then travels in a magic process to a land far away to where the wild things are, where he is made king, leads a 'wild rumpus' the returns home. Perfect for a small child. Whether or not a child understands that there are more complex layers beneath a story doesn't detract from their gravitas, I believe this is the basis of most fairy tales that have endured over many years.
For older readers with further discussion they might be able to understand that the journey takes place in Max's imagination and through it he is able to act out his powerful emotions at having an angry clash with his mother. He is able to become wild and engage in a rumpus but still return to being Max and having the safety of his home and dinner when he is ready.
For £3.50 on Amazon I think this is a great bargain.
I'm sure most of you have heard of this book and generally with it the words 'classic' and 'all time favourite' are used. My review does not use these words because although I love this book I don't believe many of the children who it is read to really understand it or engage with it in the way they do other 'classics'. Popularity has increased since the recent film (which I have to admit I haven't seen) and this maybe helping the books popularity with children but generally I feel it is aimed at children who are too young to really grasp all the book has to offer.
Now before I make a lot of fans angry, I don't dislike this book. The book has stood the test of time, having been written and published over 50 years ago by the acclaimed author Maurice Sendak. My issues with this book are if you enter any bookshop/browse an internet site you will see this book in a collection generally for 3-5 year olds. Now I have read this book to many 6 year olds and I have to admit to you that they rarely understand the book. This is not to say they don't enjoy having the story read to them and that this should not continue as every child is different but I feel the majority of children are just too young to understand the depths of this book. When I have questioned children about it they struggle to see past the story of a boy running away and meeting monsters. They are also quite confused about how he gets back from the land where the Wild Things are and it takes a lot of discussion (which isn't a bad thing) for young children to even begin to grasp what is happening.
For those of you who are not aware of the book, it is the story of Max, a boy, who dressed in his wolf suit, causes mischief and mayhem around his house to the point where his mum calls him a 'Wild Thing'. This leads to Max getting angry and telling his mother 'i'll eat you up'. As a result Max is sent to bed. In his room Max uses his imagination to go into a fantasy world of Wild Things. Here he is made a king because of his unruly behaviour. The book ends with Max smelling his dinner and being returned to the real world and to where he is loved.
Now I am not denying that this isn't a great picture book but my main concern is that it is not directed at the right aged children. Picture books have a stigma attached to them that they are for young children and this view is wrong. If your child is at a stage where they are reading chapter books, this is no need to stop reading and SHARING picture books. This is the great thing about picture books they can be shared and discussed more thoroughly than chapter books. This is a great example of a picture book that would be much better shared with children 6+ as although short this book has hidden depths. Also Max is definitely a character lots of children can relate to due to his angry streak.
The illustrations in this book are exquisite, completed by Maurice Sendak himself. They have elements of humour, beauty and at times can be quite scary. Spending time discussing what is happening in the pictures is half of the appeal of this book.
To summarise, this is a quality book but I just don't feel that children are getting the most out of this book as it is only being shared with younger children and not those who are old enough to really appreciate it. If you read it to younger children be prepared to spend time discussing this book (which I would recommend with everything you read with your child).
This is an absolute classic of a picture book by the legendary and sadly recently decease, Maurice Sendak. Weirdly enough I don't actually remember owning or being read this as a child. However, working as a children's bookseller I am overly familiar with the book and have fallen in love with it as an adult rather than a child.
Maurice Sendak has written many children's books in his lifetime and many of them I actually own. This has to be my favourite of his stories and one that lives in the heart of many children. It was first written and published in 1963 and as a result the illustrations are representative of their time. By that I mean that they have a slightly retro/kitsch look them which is entirely different from the illustrations you'd find in the majority of modern picture books. They look like etchings done with pencil or black pen, with colour added to create brightness and darkness where appropriate. As a result the pictures take on an almost dreamlike quality, the dark lines that permeate all of the illustrations create a darkness which is reminiscent of night. The wild things also look like the imaginings of a young child, and Max himself is dressed up in a costume of his own.
The book is totally unique not only because of the way it looks but also because of the plot line. It is essentially a journey picture book, but one which differs from anything I've ever read before. Max is making mischief at home dressed in his adorable costume and because of his bad behaviour his mother sends him to bed with no supper. Out of Max's mind grows a wild and dark forest and a sea flows steadily. Max, not ready for bed, sails himself to the to the land of the wild things. The land is filled with terrifying monsters but Max is not afraid. In fact he is fearless, and stares into each of their eyes without blinking. It is this bravery which secures him the title of King of the wild things. To celebrate they dance around in a wild rumpus. Max soon misses home and so decides to sail back despite the protestations and pleadings from the wild things for him to stay. Max returns home to find his room the same as it has always been, with his dinner waiting for him...still hot.
There is something incredibly sweet about the narrative and it seems to draw heavily from the vivid and lucid imaginations of children. Max's bravery, fearlessness and power are the kind of characteristics children dream of having, they are the things they see in their fathers, mothers and older siblings and aspire to one day be in possession of themselves. I can't imagine any child not wanting to visit the land of the wild things and have a jolly good rumpus with the monsters.
This book cost me £5.99 which is a great price for a good quality picture book. I would definitely recommend this for beginner readers as well as younger children. It has the perfect amount of text to encourage and not swamp young readers who are just beginning to enjoy text for themselves. Younger and older children will also appreciate the illustrations and the story and there are a huge variety of imaginative possibilities for role playing and story writing.
I absolutely love this book, it is whimsical and charming and perfectly captures the vibrant imagination of the young.
Before I had my son I worked as a nursery nurse with pre school aged children and as such I was exposed to books that I would possibly not have come across had I not been doing that job. One of the books I had not heard of but read regularly to the children was where the wild things are. I now know this to be considered a classic and well known book by many but at the time I was clueless! When I had my son I knew I would like him to have lots of books to look at and this was one of the ones I bought.
The book where the wild things are is written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It was first published in 1963 which makes it a staggering 48 years old but it is still well loved by many children.
The story is about a little boy called Max who dresses up in a wolf suit and gets quite boisterous and so he is sent to bed without any supper by his mother. Whilst in his room it appears a forest begins to grow until it becomes so overgrown with vines and trees that it is like a jungle. Max sails through this jungle for almost over a year to the place where the wild things are. The wild things are a bunch of scary looking monsters but they are soon tames by Max and he becomes the king of their world. Eventually though Max begins to miss home and decides to sail back where he finds his supper waiting for him-and it is still warm.
My son, now five, loves this story as there are monsters featured in it and it shows a little boy being their king. I like the story as it is showing how a child can be so imaginative that they can create a whole new world whilst they play. I think for young children they probably think that the wild things are real rather than in Max's imagination but I think that is fine as it is showing they have good imaginations too!
The illustrations in the book I think are great. They aren't particularly bright and they feature a lot of greens and browns but they really stand out all the same. Somehow although the pictures look somewhat roughly drawn there is a lot of details within them for you to look at-especially with regards to the wild things.
My only slight issue with this book is that sometimes I feel there isn't time to take a breath because the pages run into each other with very few full stops! Despite this it is an enjoyable story and so it doesn't detract too much from enjoying it.
The children in the nursery I worked at loved this story, just like my son does. It is lovely that as you are reading the book you have the opportunity to add expression and raise you voice at times to ensure you have a captive audience at all times. As such I do recommend this book for children and I would say it is best from those around the ages of three to seven or eight. Some children may be scared of the wild things but of course as a parent we need to decide for ourselves if something would be suitable for our children. Should you wish to buy this book you can purchase it from amazon for £3.86 which is a good price I feel.
Thank you for reading my review!
Ages 1 -8
Note : This review is for the original storybook as shown, not the modern movie version. The movie is loosely based on this, but very loosely in my opinion.
I think this is defeinately one of the best children's stories ever written.
Everything about it is perfect from the storyline to the lovely pen and ink drawings that illustrate it. You can see the expressions clearly on Max's face and the monsters are botth a bit frightening, and quite adorable at the same time ( not unlike some children LOL). I personally love the way the illustrations show the trees growing in Max's room, so that you can really imagine it changing. I think all children must imagine their own rooms growing into forests like this after reading the story, at least I did as a child.
The story itself is simple but unforgetable. Max is a typical boisterous wee lad, dressed up in a wolf costume. He seems bent on mischief, until his mother sends him to bed. There in his room a forest grows. Max discovers a boat and sails away for the land of the Wild Things. he fits right in among the beasts, so well that they make him king and enjoy a wonderful wild rumpus. But of course little boys can only remain beasts for a short time, and he longs to be home where someone loves him "best of all". So sails back on a tremendous journey until at last he reaches his own room and finds dinner waiting for him.
I remember this very well from my own child and remember be totally captivated by the magic of the story, you could almost smell the woody forest, and feel the sea breeze. I do remember I also cried my eyes out because the poor monsters were left alone and were sad, but then I was an odd child, LOL.
My sons both love this book. We all jump up and dance around with waving arms and terrible roars and have our own wild rumpus. My oldest loves stories about nauhty children anyway , and finds the part about Max's misbehaviour hillarious. he also likes that Max's mother loves him best of all anyway. I think perhaps all children may like that reasssurance that even if they act up a bit, Mom always loves them "best of all".
Somehow this story escaped me in my childhood. The first I heard of it was when the film came out. I never went to see the film, but when I saw a copy of the book in a local bookstore, I picked it up and it looked interesting!
Retails £5.99 and is written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
The story follows a naughty little boy called Max who is sent to his room without any supper for being naughty. He dreams of a land of 'Wild Things'. Creatures who live in a far away land. He becomes king of the Wild Things and they have a great time dancing and playing. But Max misses home and leaves the Wild Things to travel back in his own little boat to his room. Were is supper is still hot, waiting for him.
I was first drawn to the book my its large size and beautiful illustration on the front. Unlike the simple and often childish drawings of other childrens books, Sendak has taken a very adult style in his illustrations, but one that works well I feel.
The style of both the writing and illustrations is quite quirky and different, and with an interesting darkness and depth to the story that draws both adults and children in.
I love the size of this book, it is just right for sharing with a group of children. Its about 30cm x 30cm (ish!) and the cover and pages are REALLY thick and durable. The quality of both the paper and colour/print is, for a reasonably priced children's book, amazing!
The story is very clever, at every turn it is aimed towards the imaginations of small children. I really think its one of the best books for letting (little boys especially) imaginations run wild. The story has all the elements to make it an exciting epic tale that children can relate too;
From dressing up in a wolf suit (don't all children love to dress up!?), Max is sent to bed for being naughty (I'm sure most children can relate to this!). As max has chased the dog (which honestly looks like our dog, scary!)
Max then imagines a forest growing in his room. This is great for our little boy as his dad went to Borneo last year. He still remembers and loves this story as he thinks of it like the jungle there!
Then Max steps into his own private boat. For any children who have a boat this is great. We have a boat and our little boy loves to think of it as his boat. In the story it is 'Max's own private boat' with his name on.Very exciting!
Then we meet the Wild Things. I'm sure all little children love stories about monsters. This is no exception, although I do think there is more to interact with here than the usual story. On each page about the Wild Things there are around five characters, which change on each page. I think it's very cleverly done, as the Wild Things look somewhat like animals they aren't too scary; e.g. there is one with chicken feet, one which looks like a cow, one like a goat.
We love pointing out what they look like and the body parts.
There are a couple of lovely two page spreads in the middle of the story that are simply pictures of Wild Things jumping about without any text. We love these ones, especially the younger children. My little boy loves jumping up and down like the Wild Things.
Then when Max tries to leave the Wild Things threaten to 'eat you up' [Max]. I think the balance between being too scary and staying interesting is just kept right. There is not too much tension and the simple language is great.
Max sails back home and then finds his supper waiting for him.
I think this classic tale has a great underlying ability to make children imagine there own Wild Things and make up stories of their own. Key skills and my two and a half year old loves it!
May scare the more timid children.
Lovely story that will draw in both young and old with its simple writing style and beautiful illustrations.
As with other reviewers this is a book I remember well from childhood, especially as my brother is called Max!
It is the story of a young boy Max who dresses in a wolf suit and causes havoc. His Mum sends him to bed without any tea and he dreams that a forest grows and he travels to a land full of wild things. He becomes king of the wild things, has some fun, then gets lonely so comes home to find his mum has left him some supper after all.
I bought it for my son when he was about 6 months old to make up an online order and for nostalgic reasons but at that age it was far too long and boring for him. It languished on his bookshelf until a few weeks ago when at 18 months old he pulled it out at bedtime and handed it to me to read to him. This time he loved the book, and it is our current favourite.
There is only a line or two of text on each page (on some pages there is none at all), and the story isn't very long so doesn't require too much concentration, having read it about 5 times in the last two weeks I think I could recite the whole thing from memory so its really not very long at all. I think we enjoy it so much now as although it is quite short it is a 'proper' story with emotion and character voices and is much more interesting to read than Spot or song books.
The illustrations are a major feature of this book, they are colourful but quite dark and grown-up in their look. Max really does look like a little terror and the wild things are detailed and each seems to be drawn with their own personality. The moon features heavily in this book, it is on nearly every page and for some reason my son finds this really fascinating and loves to look through the book pointing at the moon.
As much as I like the book, especially when Max meets the wild things who 'roar their terrible roars, gnash their terrible teeth, roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws', I have to admit I have reservations about the message in the story. Max doesn't show any remorse for winding his mum up so much she sends him to his room, just feels sorry for himself but ends up getting his supper anyway - maybe I've just been reading too many parenting books or perhaps Max's mum should call in Supernanny!
I can remember the first time I was ever read this story. I was in school maybe first grade not sure though. I can remember thinking that it would be so cool to be able to go Where the Wild Things Are. Now that the movie has come out I had to pull this book off the shelf and blow the dust off it. My daughter and I sat down to read it for the first time in a very long time.
****Where The Wild Things Are****
Story and Pictures by Maurice Sendak. This story was copyrighted in 1963 so it is definatly a story for the generations. I love that this is a story that I was read when I was a child and its a story that I have chosen to share with my daughter.
The Story starts with Max a little boy who is up to trouble no doubt. He is wearing a wolf suit and is really causing trouble. Being to much for his mother Max gets sent to bed with out eating any thing. I guess he never should have told her "I'll Eat You Up"
The most amazing thing happened that night a forest grew in Max's bed room. Then his room slowly disappeared and became the forest world around him. Finding a boat just for him floating on the Ocean Max sails for over a year to Where The Wild Things Are.
When Max finally got to Where The Wild Things Are they growled and knashed there teeth at him. Being a trouble causing boy Max was able to tame them by staring into there eyes with out blinking. They made him king of all the wild things because he was the wildest of all.
After a while of playing with the Wild things Max starts to feel lonely. So he tells the wild things its time to stop playing and send them to bed with no supper. As they slept Max started to smell good food was it for real?
I really love this book it has a great story and the pictures, illustrations are just wonderful. There are many details in the pictures making reading the story just as important as looking at the pictures.
There is only one problem for me and that's just that the Wild Things look rather scary with big claws and mouths with teeth, but that's just me I am kind of wimpy like that.
What I do know is its my daughters favorite story and she never tires of having it read to her over and over again. I should also say that I dont mind reading it to her over and over again its a good story and now that my daughter is reading she can read it to me.
When I was a child, I loved this book . It was one of the small selection of childrens books my gran kept at her house for when we visited, and it was read to me again and again . I adored the story - and then promptly forgot about it until recently .
I saw an avatar online with a picture of a kid in a wolf outfit . It bugged me - I knew I knew it, but couldn't for the life of me remember where from. Eventually I asked the person behind the avatar, and he told me it was from the book, which prompted me to go out and buy a copy .
'Where the Wild Things are', written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, was published in 1963, and to date has sold a staggering 19 million copies . It also spawned an animated short, an opera, and this year a movie and video game based on the book were released.
The story centres on Max, a naughty little boy who dresses up in a wolf outfit and proceeds to terrorise his mother with threats of eating her up . His mum sends him to his room without and supper, and as he sits in his room, a mysterious forest and sea appear, along with a little boat, which Max clambers into . After a sea voyage, he arrives in the land of the wild things - but he's not scared, and is soon declared King of the Wild Things . He has a great time being their king and leading them in their wild times, but soon becomes homesick - and returns home to his bedroom, where he finds his supper, still warm, waiting for him .
It's a really simple story (only ten short sentances long, although some pages have only single words on them) but I'm pretty sure any child (or adult) can identify with having been naughty and sent to bed without supper at one point . We can all identify with the need to let off steam and go a little wild sometimes, and I'm sure most children will understand the desire after a tiring adventure to return safely to the comfort and security of their own home .
With the story being so simple, a lot of the action is enhanced by the wonderfully detailed illustrations, largely in muted tones . They show ridiculous looking scary 'wild things' - my favourite being a wild bull-like creature with horns, thick fur, clawed hands and enormous feet . It's amusing to see the young Max in his wolf outfit scaring monsters much bigger and much scarier than he is. The illustrations are much less bright and cartoonish than many more recent books, but I don't think this is a downside, I like the detail and imagination in them .
This story is brilliant for reading aloud and making games out of - you can imagine the noises all the monsters would make, and the voices they would have . You can imagine what other creatures might be lurking unseen in the forest, and what kinds of plants and fruits might be growing there. The books content is imaginative enough, but the great thing is there is so much a child can take and expand on -- what does a particular monster like to eat, for example , and why does one monster like to wear clothes . Books that spark a childs imagination in this way are wonderful, and it's no wonder this book is still available today .
But perhaps the best thing about the book is the ending - it's not clear if this was all his imagination, a dream, or if it all really happened - but what is clear is the message that, no matter how naughty he was, his parents still loved him and gave him his supper. It's a story that really reinforces the image of home as a comfortable and happy place, full of the love of your parents, and that no matter how naughty you are, your parents still love you just the same - because thats what parents do .
A wonderful book that I have enjoyed rediscovering, and that I still enjoy just as much today as I did when I was a child, and that my daughter enjoys reading, and having read to her too .
You can buy this on amazon.co.uk for £4.18, and I very much recommend it .
Being keen to start building up a library of books for my son from an early age, I turned to some of the classics I enjoyed as a child (probably more for my own gratification than anything else!). This in turn got my husband reminiscing - the most outstanding being, in his opinion, 'Where The Wild Things Are'.
Personally, I had never encountered this book. (Where have you been I hear you cry!). My husband is American, so I put it down to the fact that it must have been more popular across the pond, where indeed it was first released over 40 years ago. I bought the book anyway, keen to see what all the fuss was about!
I bought the hardback version, which is a large oblong book. The pages have very little writing - perhaps only a line or two, & the writing is large so that children can read it easily. The main thing about the book are the illustrations. They take up most of the book & are beautifully drawn.
The story covers a young boy who is sent to bed without any supper for being naughty. His bedroom then transforms into another land & he sails away to where the wild things are, where he becomes their leader. He finally sails back home (after what we're led to believe is years), back to his bedroom where he finds his supper waiting for him...and it is still hot.
The magic of the book is the perception by young children as to whether the story is real or was just a dream.
I have to say, after all the hype from my husband, I was expecting more from this book. But then again, I didn't experience it as a child when it would have seemed much more enchanting. Hopefully my son enjoys it as he gets older.....
Price-wise, it's quite expensive. RRP £12.99, with Amazon selling it for £11.69 (price correct @ June 2009). Paperback edition also available.
(Also published on ciao under the same username).
'Where the Wild Things are', written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, must be one of the most popular picture books of the last fifty years. Winner of the Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year in 1964, it doesn't seem dated at all forty-five years later and maintains its appeal to children of a wide age range.
Max, not a big boy by any means, dresses up in his white wolf suit and gets into so much mischief that he is sent to bed with nothing to eat. First a forest grows in his bedroom, and then an ocean appears with a private boat for Max to sail in. After a year he comes to the place where the wild things are. Unabashed by their roaring, gnashing of teeth and showing of claws, he tames them and becomes their king. Having had fun with them, he sends them to bed without any supper. Max then realises how lonely and hungry he is and insists on sailing home. Back in his room after another long journey, he finds his supper there, ready and waiting for him.
Does Max fall asleep for a while and dream about the wild things? Or does his imagination simply run riot? Whatever the answer may be, almost every child can identify with Max. The urge to dress up and be naughty, the defiance on being sent to bed without supper: Max will arouse sympathy. He becomes a hero when he shows no fear on encountering the wild things and is crowned as their king. He is then the all-powerful one who can send them to bed hungry. What a position to be in. Or is it? He is a little boy after all, and adventure is a wonderful thing but when it's over he wants the comforts of home. It's all so reassuring; you can go home when you're ready and food will be there.
Maurice Sendak's illustrations for 'Where the Wild Things are' make a huge contribution to the book. Before the story begins, the title page shows a valiant Max chasing two wild things that are much bigger than him. One of them has a stripy jumper, scaly legs, long claws, a ridiculously long tail, and horns. The jumper just takes the edge off his potential to scare. Max is seen sailing the ocean and encountering a sea dragon, dancing in the moonlight, hanging from a tree alongside the wild things. Colours are muted pinks, browns, yellows, greens and blues. The brightest thing is Max's sailing boat with its red hull and yellow sails. Many of the pictures feature painstaking cross-hatching, including the entire double-page spread of jungle flowers at the beginning and end of the book.
The design of the book as regards the balance of text and illustrations is particularly fascinating. On the first eight double pages, the text appears on a white background on the left-hand side whilst the picture is on the right. The first picture takes up less than half a page, but the size of the illustrations increases gradually until on the eighth page it covers the whole of the right-hand side as well as about a third of the left-hand side. On the following three double pages, the picture spreads right across the width and the white border at the bottom becomes narrower and narrower. The text appears in this border on both sides of the page. There are then three double pages that consist entirely of illustrations that show Max and the wild things enjoying their rumpus. These present an ideal opportunity for the child that has been listening thus far to fill in this part of the story or talk about it to the adult who has been reading. The last few pages of the book reverse the process of the first section, until we have a white page with text on the left and a whole-page picture on the right. The final page of the story has just a half sentence of text and no picture at all, as if to finish on a teasing note.
'Where the Wild Things are' is a wonderful story to read aloud to children from the age of three upwards, and by the time children are able to read themselves it is likely that they will still have an interest in this book. The fact that the text is printed throughout on a white background in a bold font makes it very clear to see. There are never more than three lines of text per page, so a young reader will not be discouraged by large blocks of text. There are, however, some extremely long sentences that run from one page over to the next.
Maurice Sendak's story can also lend itself readily as a resource for drama sessions with groups of young children. They will delight in pretending to be wild things that roar, roll their eyes and show their frightening claws. They can bow to Max, dance and play with him, then try to scare him again as he prepares to sail home.
Children who enjoyed this book when it was first published in 1963 have no doubt taken pleasure in reading it again to their own children, and perhaps even one or two grandchildren by now. The combination of fantasy, adventure, mischief and finally seeking home comforts have made 'Where the Wild Things are' a classic picture book that is likely to remain a favourite for many generations yet to come.
Where the Wild Things are
Maurice Sendak (Author, Illustrator)
Paperback, 48 pages
Red Fox, 2000
Price £5.99 (Amazon £4.49)
Also posted on other sites.
Where the Wild Things Are, is a beautiful children's book written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak in the 1960s. It won the Caldecott award for the Most Distinguished Picture Book in 1964! I remember being read this book as a child, and it was one of the stories I looked forward to reading my own children.
It follows an evening in the life of Max, a little boy in a wolf suit, who is sent to bed with no supper by his mother. This turns into a magical trip to the land where the wild things are - where Max soon becomes king of all the wild things.
From a parents point of view, it is a wonderful story, beautifully illustrated, and with the cosy knowledge that Max returns safe and sound to his mum (and is still well fed at the end of the day!). We are also using to help teach our 4 year old twins to read.
My children (age 4,4, and 2) adore this book, and often ask for it before bedtime. When we reach the pages in the centre of the book where there are no words, just pictures, we have our own little wild rumpus, where they dance around the room, singing a little tune!
If you haven't read this story with your children, I would definitely recommend taking a look at it, we have certainly had lots of fun with our copy!
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
***What's it all about? ***
This book is famous in children's literature for winning the Caldecott Medal Winner for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year 1964. It is currently published by Red Fox and tells the story of Max, a little boy who dresses up in his wolf suit and gets up to mischief one evening. His mother called him a 'Wild Thing' and after replying to her rudely, was sent to bed without any supper.
Then strange things begin to happen... A forest grows in his room and becomes his whole world. He comes across an ocean and a boat just for him, which he gets on and sails across the world for almost a year. At last he reaches a place where the wild things are...These look like quite scary creatures and Max looks cross. He gives them a stony stare and exclaims 'Be Still'. The creatures are frightened; they declare Max King of the Wild Things. To celebrate they go really wild! They swing from trees, having fun until Max has had enough and sends the monsters to bed. Max feels sad and lonely and...Well, I won't spoil the ending for you!
This is a beautiful picture book that should be in every young child's collection of books. It is printed on good quality thick paper and has lasting appeal. Most of the writing is on a white background, which makes for easy clear reading.
I like the book because it illustrates to children how your imagination can take you anywhere you want to go. In this instance Max has been sent to his room as a punishment (not sure if this happens to many children these days), and it is good to see that his imagination keeps him company. At the same time, it also shows how time out can make us sorry for our actions and how we might feel differently later on; Max felt lonely and missed his family after the excitement of his adventure had worn off.
The illustrations are great (drawn by the author), but what I really like most is the well thought out use of verbs and adjectives etc that make this a great book for extending vocabulary. Good use is also made of illustrations of the wild things over several double page layouts near the middle of the book.
I have seen it used as a teaching tool in schools, with children as old as 9, although I think it is most suitable for ages 3-7 (a bit scary for younger readers!). I also like the differing emotions portrayed by Max on his face throughout the book. My children always enjoyed listening to this - even if they found the monsters a bit scary when they were younger.
This book is good for parents too - surely everyone can remember being like Max at least once when they were little!
It is available for £4.49 from Amazon, which is the cheapest price I could find. I have never seen it part of any book club offers from The Book People, possibly because it doesn't need offers to sell it.
I give this book 5 out of 5, because it is a book that you could keep and hand down to future generations.
This is one of these rare things, a picture book suitable for toddlers as young as 18 months, definitely 2 years old, but enjoyable to parents as well - seriously enjoyable, not just because the little one likes it.
Max puts on his wolf suit, and after a little tantrum and threatening Mama with eating her up, he gets sent to bed without supper, and is called the wildest thing of all. Luckily, a wild forest grows in his room, and a boat is ready to take him to an island where the wild things are. He becomes their king and a wild rumpus ensues, but eventually even such a wild thing as Max longs to return home to safety and warmth where somebody loves him: and that's exactly what happens, and the supper is there - still warm.
It's a wonderful book. If you buy one picture book this year and haven't got "Where the Wild Things Are" yet, make it this one.
The story is engaging and entertaining, with a mixture of reality and fantasy, a dreamland of fulfilled wishes and scary anxieties. The book explores the hidden, the subconscious or maybe pre-conscious and its universal appeal lies probably in the fact that it externalises the wild thing from within. This is an illuminating and cathartic excercise every so often for anybody, but it's even more valuable for a small child just starting to delineate his or her borders and learning to assert their independence, both behaviourally and emotionally while at the same time being very scared of a separation that goes with it and the rejection by the parent that might result.
But it's a book, not a therapy session and it's fantastically written too, in a hypnotic rhythm of sentences which unfold with dream-like clarity (yes, there is such a thing!). See for yourself:
That very night in Max's room a forest grew (turn a page)
and grew (turn a page)
until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around (turn a page)
and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max and he sailed off through night and day (turn a page)
and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are.
And it's all perfectly complemented with illustrations - pencil and muted colours, very surreal in style, totally magical. Each page brings new, wondrous landscapes to explore. There is Max, a rather mean looking little boy actually, not at all sweet, in his wolf suit; and there are of course the wild things themselves, with giant yellow eyes and somehow sad expressions, scary but very funny too, with enough edge to place a seed of doubt in a little mind, but with the storyline leaving no doubt that they are totally controllable. And there is another lesson here: as we grownups know but the child might unconsciously learn to realise, they are creations of Max's imagination and as such, are only as scary as he allows them to be.
It's rich, it's creative, it's unusual, it's simple and it has the highest quality execution, both text and image wise.
I can't praise this book enough: it's deservingly a classic and a highly recommended one.
48 pages paperback, Red Fox; available from Amazon for about £2.
This review has been originally written for www.thebookbag.co.uk.
Author/Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
Publish Date: November 1965
Age Suitability: 4-8 years (I am not sure it would be enough to keep your average 7 or 8 year old interested)
***About the Author/Illustrator***
Maurice Sendak was born in New York in 1928 to Jewish Immigrant parents. He began working as an illustrator in 1951 when he gained recognition for his black and white sketches for A hole is to Dig by Ruth Kraus. This was the first of several collaborations with Kraus.
In 1955 he began working with colours, adding his illustrations to stories such as Charlotte and the White Horse.
A year later, Sendak took the plunge and made his first attempt at writing the stories to go with his illustrations with Kenny's Window shortly followed by Hector Protector and As I went over the water. These were quickly followed by his best known book, Where the Wild things are.
Although Sendak was now recognised as an author as well as illustrator, he continued to illustrate the works of other writers in an attempt to bring writers from the past back to the readers.
In 1970 Sendak returned to picture books with In the Night Kitchen which won him critical acclaim and lead to him receiving a Hans Christian Andersen medal for his contributions to children's literature later the same year. He has since gone on to win the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the wild Things Are, The American Book Award in 1982 as well as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. In 1996 The President of the United States honoured Sendak with the National Medal of Arts award and in 2003 he shared the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature with Austrian Author, Christine Noestlinger.
Max, a mischievous boy enjoying dressing up as a monster, is sent to his room without any dinner for being cheeky and too monster like. In his room, with the door closed, Max's imagination takes off. His bedroom slowly turns into an imaginary forest and before he knows what is happening, Max is in a private boat sailing "in and out of a year", arriving at a far away land "where the wild things are".
The wild and horrible monsters (which are really rather cute) try to terrify Max by snarling and flashing their teeth and claws, but Max uses his magic stare to calm them down. This results in the monsters worshiping Max as the King of the wild Things and doing whatever he asks including hanging from trees and dancing around together. When Max decides it is time to return they try without success to make him stay.
After travelling by boat "in and out of a year" Max finds himself back in his room where his dinner sits waiting for him still warm.
I like Sendak's style of writing. He doesn't dumb down for kids and plays with language in a manner most children's author's shy away from. He uses repetitions (his boat trip sequence) to add a familiar feel to the story and doesn't miss the small details. I loved that the dinner was still warm - reflecting that the long trip to the far away land that took about two years in total really wasn't that long if he returned to a hot dinner.
I did feel like Max's time on the Island where the wild things are could have been a little bit more descriptive. His time there seemed to be over as son as it started although this simplicity will appeal to younger children.
Sendak is an imaginative writer and had he been under less publishing limitations i.e. sticking to a certain number of pages and allowing the illustrations to tell the story, I expect this story could have turned into a wild and fascinating story packed full with adventures and odd looking creatures along the way.
Sendak excels as an illustrator. His drawings are more like coloured sketches and each page is full to the brim with detail. There are no while and empty spots in Sendak's illustrations. This gives children an awful lot to look at and absorb, helping them to experience the story as Sendak sees it. He uses quite rich and dark colours which is unusual but refreshing for children stories. Not everything has to be bright primary colours.
. Each image is given a texture which you can imagine the feel of perfectly. His characters have great expressive faces. The monsters in this book were very cleverly done. They had the sharp claws and dangerous teeth he describes in the text but the fearsomeness was softened by the fantastic faces of the creatures. He gives them emotions that turn these ferocious beings into big furry softies ensuring your wee one doesn't go to bed with nightmares.
A great book and certainly a classic which adults will enjoy reading. If I would change anything about the book, I would bulk up the text a bit. With vivid and detailed illustrations I think Sendak could have afforded to add more text without worrying about losing the readers attention. Other than that, this is a great imaginative tale with a lovely, imaginative mischievous main character and kids will love it.
The Wild thing characters were inspired by his aunts and uncles who looked like "toothy monsters" and seemed to a young Sendak to threaten and smother him with attention.